Wednesday Writing Prompts XIX

1. Write an action sequence of epic proportions. Focus entirely on the action itself, infuse every sentence with awesomeness, and don’t worry about any other aspects just yet. Leave the science, the character development, the background info and the various explanations for later. For now, write only the action– be the action, live it, feel it. Once you’ve got the scene down, take some time to satisfy that itching need for wordiness, but only after you’ve looked at the piece as it stands and taken the time to truly appreciate the beauty of simplicity.

2. Do something truly experimental with your writing as a craft. Create something new and interesting that catches the eye– do something with your writing that you’ve never done before and have never seen anyone else do before either. Take it as far as you can, leave a mark on someone’s life, or at the very least, strive to give someone a WTF moment. Hell, you could even write something in Shakespearean form and then run up to random strangers and read it or something.

3. Write a story in which the main character is directing the action at a distance, like an operator or a Captain relaying orders to troops in the field. Convey and capture the fact that, even though the main character isn’t in the thick of it, he or she is still tied inextricably to everything that the men and women in the field have to deal with face to face. Capture the tension, the fear– show the reader what it means to lead, and what it means to follow.

4. Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly could not sleep. It doesn’t have to be insomnia– it could be any cause of suddenly not being able to sleep– even as far as trying to stay awake in the face of some terror that only comes when you’re asleep. Be creative, do something with this idea that hasn’t been done before, but never lose sight of it in your story.

5. Write the secret life of someone young and successful. Consider what kind of dark and unexpected secret someone like, say, a high powered lawyer or corporate exec might have. Sure, on the outside it’s all business suits and cocktail parties, but what about in his or her alone time? Is there a change of personality, a change of masks or ideologies? Is the leader of some international corporate conglomerate secretly an alien from Proxima Centauri? An ageless creature out of fantasy? Be creative, see where it takes you.

6. Write a story that centers around a hat. It could be any kind of hat, with any kind of story of its own behind it. Be creative, see where your ideas take you, and never lose sight of the hat. It doesn’t have to be your protagonist, but make it a critical enough piece of the story that its removal would leave a gaping hole that could not be filled. Is it a fruit-covered old ladies’ hat? A beat up baseball cap? Something else entirely?

7. Write a story where the fantastic is just outside the walls of the mundane– literally. What kind of a world stirs and sprawls just beyond the tall fence of some surrealistically and painfully average sort of existence? Spend some time thinking about how you could breathe life into this idea– do you take the surreal route of little Timmy with his white-picket fence house that stands as a black and white island in the middle of a sea of rainbows, or do you go with something grittier and more realistic, like the traditional white protestant family that moves into a wild and multicultural neighborhood? Try different things, be creative, look for the third path, but most of all, have fun with it. Don’t let it get too serious.

8. Create some brand new theme restaurant (like Outback, the Elephant Bar, or Bubba Gump) and then set a story there. Don’t just use the restaurant as a flat backdrop– give it life, make the characters interact with it, make it such an integral part of the entire experience that to remove it would ultimately be like removing an entire character.

9. There’s a penetrating ambiance of profound loneliness that sets in when one gets out on the open water in a boat. Think about this as you write a story– how does this sense of utter aloneness touch you? How does it make you feel? (Other than alone) What does it make you think of? Jot down some notes, work a little on it, and picture yourself aboard that boat as the sun dips in the sky and sinks slowly down the horizon. Now, work it all together into a story.

10. Consider the story of Atlantis. Is it a myth? Is it a distorted story with grains of truth embedded within it? Is it something else altogether more fantastic? Write a story that either happens at or involves the tale of Atlantis. Be creative, do some research, and see where the story takes you.

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